!20 Million Americans Going To Hell —And Counting!

Ed Raymond

When religion meets science, someone loses. That axiom is the subject of a cartoon by Molvig. A human with a close resemblance to Alfred Einstein has been tied to the stake and is facing a Roman Catholic cardinal holding a blazing torch to the woodpile under his feet. The cardinal is saying, “Although you do make some valid points...”
   When the Supreme Court announces its decision about the California same-sex marriage petition, we probably will know whether religion, commonsense, or science has won that particular battle over sex. The Minnesota legislature has approved a bill that would allow same-sex marriages, so it is of great interest to over 450,000 gays living in the state. That’s  the combined populations of Rochester, Duluth, Bloomington, St. Cloud, Eagan, and Moorhead.
   Catholic and Protestant Bible-thumpers have been told that if they vote for a politician who supports same-sex marriage, they will go to hell. The most recent thumper was Bishop David Ricken of the Green Bay diocese, who added abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and human cloning to his extensive “go to hell” list. Dozens of bishops, both Catholic and evangelical, have issued the same warning. A same-sex rogue wave tells me that hell may not have many vacancies soon. A same-sex marriage vote five years from now won’t even be close. Over 20 percent of the American people have answered the question about religious affiliation with “NONE.” Actually, many still classify themselves as “religious” but have created their personal stations of the cross and stained glass windows.

We Are About To Be
Overwhelmed By The
Tsunamis Of History

   Science, commonsense, and physical evidence are raising the tide that identifies gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders as equals to heterosexuals. Just in the last decade, U.S. states with over 120 million people have sanctioned same-sex marriage and full or limited domestic gay partnerships. Nine states and the District of Columbia have approved same-sex marriages. Others are considering approval. If the Supreme Court tries to stop this (LGBT) tsunami of history, there will be real hell to pay!
   We still have priests, ministers, and politicians who believe every word in the Bible was dictated by God to saints who wrote immaculate transcriptions in English. The problem is we now have 721 different translations! Take Deuteronomy 21:21, which contains parental guidelines about administering the death penalty to rebellious children: “Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones, so you shall put away the evil among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.” An Arkansas politician is advocating making 21:21 a law of the state: “If it were the law of the land, it would be a tremendous incentive for children to give proper respect to their parents.” He must be a sustaining member in the Christian Taliban.
   Should we stone to death the third daughter of Daniel and Susan Moore for being a rebellious lesbian in Bible-thumping Tennessee? Here is an abstract of her story from the article “Does God Punish Gay People for Being Who They Are?”: “For as long as you can remember... you remember being attracted exclusively to other girls. You have never been romantically interested in men. You are, however, romantically interested in someone. You began to panic as a teenager. Now forty years old, you know you had every reason to panic. You are alone, as though by grand design, and frequently feel as though you are the victim of a heavenly morality that is unintelligible to you.... Prohibited by the Lord from being romantically involved with women, you believe you have been condemned to perpetual loneliness. Over the years you are variously overcome by isolation, loneliness, periods of anger, confusion, disappointment, consolation, depression, and resentment. People have killed themselves over these things. What on earth is so morally wrong about two women being romantically involved? What reason does God have for subjecting me to this?”

Does The Closet
Hide Both Gays And
“The Inferior Breed”?

   There were a number of fascinating emails in response to the writer of the article. One referred to the “Great Designer” who screwed up and allowed gays to be born from the loins of Adam and Eve. Others wrote that if God checked us out and approved us in the womb, then any relationships coming from birth should be OK, including homosexual or heterosexual acts.
   Another writer made an interesting parallel: “Well, I was born Irish. It affects how I behave. Some would even say that it’s in the blood, since I consider myself Irish long after my family left Ireland. Irish was once considered a genetically-inferior breed (The Brits had lovely little charts showing how the Irish and the Negroes were both more closely related to apes than the ‘highly-involved’ English). You think being gay is intrinsically awful, but you don’t think the same about Irish. But if I no more chose to be born Irish than gay, why should I be more ashamed of one than the other?”
   Baptist preacher Howard Bess in his article “The Bible’s Vile Standards of Marriage” really gets after the idea that if it is in the Bible, it must be true. He writes, “We all have in our mind’s eye the classic image of a preacher raising the Bible in hand and declaring that something is true because it is written in the Bible, the unchallengeable word of God. (In my mind is the image of the strutting, crying, and sinning Reverend Jimmy Swaggart waving his Bible high while swaggarting around a stage!) And it is not just preachers. Lay people often spout the same attitude. Yet, over the centuries, this attitude has led to advocacy of slavery, segregation of the races, subordination of women and corporal punishment for children. It is only when these Biblical teachings were set aside that justice prevailed. The latest such challenge to Biblical fundamentalism is the debate about same-sex marriage. Those who continue to insist on Biblical standards say the Bible should be the final word on who should marry and how.”

Leviticus Is Actually
Part Of The Jewish
Legal Codes
Concerning Property

   Remember Solomon and his 700 wives and 300 concubines? This is what Leviticus is about. Men owned women and they could own as many as they could afford. Women were property during the time of Jesus—and still are in the 21st century. They are for sexual “use” and breeding stock. Polygamy was the standard for the rich. Their lives might be considered an abomination, with marriages arranged—and they could be divorced with a simple “good-bye.” One of the great criticisms of Jesus was that he consorted with the likes of Mary Magdalene and other prostitutes. Leviticus is often cited by thumpers as the reason for the abomination of homosexual “sin.”
  Although gays have been about eight percent of the population since cave-dwellers, the idea of same-sex marriage has only been around about fifty years. But the romantic love of hairy, bearded men for other hairy, bearded men and the romantic love of breasty women for other breasty women has been around for many centuries. Advanced societies have already dumped any idea of following Biblical marriages. Women are as active about choosing mates as men. Who “arranges” marriages any more? Maybe the rich—but that’s not a marriage, that’s an economic merger. Bess writes, “The marriage relationship is seen as a partnership, not an owner/client arrangement. The need to formalize the attractions that we have for a loving companion will not go away.”

Community Really
Living Against The
Rules Of Nature?

  We have always heard about the laws of nature or the “natural law” as espoused by some churches. The Vatican says homosexual acts are “intrinsically evil,” basing this conclusion on some Bible verses and a thousand years of natural-law gay bashing. Let’s use a few scientific observations for a moment. According to Genesis, God created everything on earth and in the firmaments, right? In 2006, a museum in Oslo exhibited 1,500 species in which homosexuality had been observed or studied. Man, part of the animals created by the Great Designer during those heady days, has exhibited homosexuality for thousands of years. In fact, cave-dwellers and American Indians declared that homosexuals possessed rare powers of judgment and empowered them as “holy men.”
   What are “The Principles of Nature” as endorsed by the Vatican? The fact is, Mother Nature has enough diversity to fit almost any ethical taste. Let’s examine some from J. Kagan’s book “Three Seductive Ideas”: “Those who wish to sanctify the institution of marriage can point to the pair bonding of gibbons; those who think infidelity is more natural can point to chimps. If you believe that people are naturally sociable, point to baboons; if you think they are solitary, point to orangutans. If you believe sex should replace fighting, point to bonobos. If you want mothers to care for infants, point to rhesus monkeys; if you prefer the father to be the primary caretaker, point to titi monkeys. If you believe that surrogate care is closer to nature, point to lionesses. If you are certain that men should dominate harems of beautiful women, point to elephant seals; if you believe women should be in positions of dominance, point to elephants.” In other words, acting against nature doesn’t mean much.

What Will The
Minnesota Legislature
And the United States
Supreme Court Do?

   According to recent polls, 53 percent of Minnesotans are against same-sex marriage and 38 percent are for, although Minnesotans voted down the same-sex constitutional amendment sponsored by Republicans in the last session. National polls are just about opposite: 58 percent favor, 36 percent oppose. Fact: 66 percent of Minnesotans 30 and under favor same-sex marriage. I would think legislators thinking about future elections would think long and hard about voting against that super-majority. However, the Minnesota Taliban led by Catholic archbishop John Nienstedt and the followers of Michele Bachmann will have a lot to say before the legislative vote. They have to be exorcised by science and reason. I see Minnesota Republicans are complaining about the DFL-dominated legislature sponsoring bills approving same-sex marriage. What the hell did they expect after trying to amend the state constitution to ban it last session?
  With the election of Francis of Argentina, Catholic cardinals have evidently selected a man concerned about the world’s poor. As a conservative, he may not slide into the fancy $400 Prada slippers and the silk underwear of Benedict, but he and the Catholic Church will still continue to be isolated from the wisdom of women, the pleasures and responsibilities of sex, same-sex marriages, genetics, and science on their medieval Vatican archipelago.

The Big Question:
What Will The U.S.
Supreme Court Do
With DOMA And The
California Petition?

   One could assume that the Supreme Court, with five conservatives appointed by Republican presidents and four liberals appointed by Democratic presidents, will end up in a 5-4 vote on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the California petition decisions. I don’t think so.  
   On one side will be the Tea Party favorites Antonin Scalia and his shadow Clarence Thomas. Samuel Alito sold out to corporations and the Christian Taliban almost at birth. Chief Justice John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy are the key. Both of these judge-politicians have a sense of history and know the same-sex tsunami is hovering over them.
   The Court is a rather curious mixture of marriage adventure and normality. Clarence Thomas married a white woman from Virginia in 1987. Until 1969, Virginia and a number of other states did not allow “mixed race” marriages! Will Clarence have the guts to vote for same-sex marriage when he has an “other race” marriage? Ruth Bader-Ginsburg was such a terrible cook her family banned her from the kitchen and her husband became the family cook. On the other hand, the irrepressible Scalia has fathered nine and has 33 grandchildren. That’s Vatican Roulette at complete rest. Justice Sonia Sotomayor had such a bad case of diabetes she decided as a teenager not to have children. She later married but is divorced. Roberts and his wife married at 41, so having their own children was iffy. They have adopted two. Elena Kagan is a “spinster.” Stephen Breyer is Jewish but married an Anglican woman; they have a daughter who is an Episcopal priest. Apparently Kennedy and Alito followed all the rules and have three and two children, respectively. Gee, that sounds like America!